Google Street View Receives an Update

Google Street View Receives an Update

Jan 25, 2017

Google Street View, the up-close-and-personal companion utility to Google Maps, is getting an update.

Per the changelog, it is now possible to see more info from the stats panel, and users can now connect photos from the photo menu.

More specifically:


• View recent auto-connections from the Stats panel.
• Connect your nearby photos from the fullscreen photo menu.
• Many UI improvements and bug fixes.

It remains free on Google Play.

Google Opinion Rewards is Now Available in France

Google Opinion Rewards is Now Available in France

Sep 14, 2016

Here’s a simple update that should make users of Google Opinion Rewards in France happier:


• Now available in France.

The app is a great way to pick up Google Play credits for answering surveys; it remains free on Google Play.

Google Street View Gets Some Nice Additions via Update

Google Street View Gets Some Nice Additions via Update

Aug 30, 2016

Google’s “other” navigation utility, Google Street View, is getting some interesting updates geared towards content publishers.

Per Google Play:


• Published fifty 360 photos? You’ll get invited to join Local Guides and be listed as a trusted pro for hire.
• You can now transfer your Maps-approved 360 photos to others.
• Lots of feature improvements and bug fixes.

The app remains free and standard on most devices.

Google Drive Gains New Features via Update

Google Drive Gains New Features via Update

Aug 26, 2016

As Google’s all-encompassing take on cloud storage and document management, Drive does receive a lot of attention; now, via update, it is adding a host of new features, including the ability to toggle comment notifications and upgrade opportunities.

It also marks the last official update for folks that still use Android ICS.

The app’s Google Play page has the full change log:


* Easily upgrade your storage plan in-app
* Add homescreen shortcuts to your favorite files
* Receive comment notifications
* Performance improvements and bug fixes
This is the last supported release of Drive for Android on all Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) devices. Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) users will receive no further updates to Drive on Android.

Drive remains free (with new-ish) in-app upgrade opportunities on Google Play.

Google+ Gets Posting Enhancement via Update

Google+ Gets Posting Enhancement via Update

Jul 1, 2016

Google+, the technology behemoths premier networking platform, just got an update derived from a bug fix.

Per the Play Store:


• Easily start a post from the top of the home stream (back from a bug fix)
• Performance enhancements and bug fixes

Google+ remains free.

Google Search Gets Usability Improvements via Update

Google Search Gets Usability Improvements via Update

Jun 20, 2016

​ The Google Search app for Android has gotten better, with an improved look, offline voice actions (for US-based users for now), new cards and more.

More specifically (per Google Play):

What’s New:

– Improved look and feel of the search page

– New doodles are designed for in-app experience

– Offline voice actions (play music, turn on wifi, turn on flashlight) (*Available in US only)

– Web pages open directly inside the app

– Now cards are grouped according to your interests

Google Search remains standard on Android devices.

Google Maps Gets New Features

Google Maps Gets New Features

Feb 14, 2016

Maps, Google’s preeminent mobile navigation utility, is receiving an update that is available to users now.


• Callouts for the current street/road and next turn in navigation
• Walking man becomes a hiker on Directions screen when distance is far
• Suggestions for editing Home and Work now include points of interests, in addition to addresses

Maps is available for free.

Google Drive Makes it Easier to Find Files

Google Drive Makes it Easier to Find Files

Dec 9, 2015

Google Drive is making it easier for folks to manage and manipulate files with its latest update that is live on Google Play as of right now.

Per the Google Drive Blog post (by Group Product Manager Steen Andersson) detailing the changes, Drive now allows one to search across all files regardless of source. One can narrow one’s search to a file type using the Android search box and open advanced search from the search box.

There are also some tweaks meant to improve search results. More specifically, it is possible to query files by owner using name and/or email, and also to search with advanced means like modified date, terms therein or the people a file was shared with.

All in all, the new features sound exceptionally useful for all type of storage users, and definitely are of a premium to people who partake in collaborative projects.

The versions for iOS and the web are also getting updated.

Google Drive remains free on the Play Store.

gdrive update

[via Google Drive Blog]

My App Addiction: Google Voice

My App Addiction: Google Voice

Oct 8, 2015

It’s been such a long time, but I still remember the specifics.

I was on one of those early web clearinghouses that was related to loss prevention, and one of the topics that popped up was an invite-only services based on telephony called GrandCentral. It gave one the opportunity to pick a whole new number and even manage voicemail to said number online.

I don’t know why I wanted one, but I just had to. I began to use it, a bit sporadically, but I learned to appreciate it; it was especially useful as a contact on resumes when I didn’t want someone to have my “real” number. Shortly after I activated my account, the big news dropped: GrandCentral was acquired by Google.

Good bye, GrandCentral. Hello Google Voice.

This is when Google Voice and I hit a groove. It was beautiful… using companion apps and a GV port on my BlackBerry, I was able to cobble a solution that allowed me to have, in essence, two numbers on one device. In the early days when folks had not yet begun to fully trust the idea of porting numbers across carriers, Google Voice gave me some indemnity: no matter what, I had a phone number that would stick with me no matter where I went.

When I toyed with trying out Android, Google Voice compatibility was a serious consideration. Thankfully, the same solutions existed, and the Android GV app was better (as to be expected). And since then, it has been a match made in a place close to heaven. I manage my GV number as my main give-out number, and text accordingly. I dial out from my native phone dialer, and for the most part it’s seamless; most people have and use my GV number to reach me.

It isn’t perfect, no; GV seems to be on the back burner, and scarily redundant with other features like Google Messenger and Hangouts getting better by the day. MMS handling is still clunky too.

Still, Google Voice was probably my first foray into web-managed services, and I still rely on it heavily, so much so that if I had to pick between my GV number and my “real” number, it would almost always be the former I choose.

Google Launches YouTube Gaming

Google Launches YouTube Gaming

Aug 26, 2015

YouTube Gaming is a new service that allows folks to immerse themselves further into games they play. There’s a lot of streams to pick from, and numerous ways to stay connected.

Per the Android app page:

YouTube Gaming keeps you connected to the games, players, and culture that matter to you. Featuring videos and live streams with chat — including let’s plays, reviews, speedruns, trailers, and more from your favorite gamers and publishers — you can explore the games you care about more deeply than ever before.
With videos covering Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Garry’s Mod, and tens of thousands more, it’s all on YouTube Gaming.

Note that you may encounter mature content in YouTube Gaming.

• Watch videos from more than 25,000 games
• Experience live streams while chatting with other gamers
• Get recommended videos based on games you love

• Browse dedicated pages for every game, as well as publisher and gamer channels
• Explore categories from reviews to let’s plays, machinima, eSports, and more
• Favorite your games and channels for updates and easy access

• Receive live stream notifications to keep up with the action
• Join a community of publishers and gamers over 100 million strong
• Tune in to live streams of events like E3, PAX, and Gamescom

The app is available now, for free.

[via YouTube Blogpost]

Google+ Gets Update

Google+ Gets Update

Jul 18, 2015

Google+ is getting a refresh courtesy of an update rolling out now:


• Collections is a new feature that lets you group posts by topic
• GIF images now load much faster
• Updated post designs
• Performance improvements and bug fixes

Google+ remains free on Google Play.

Google Handwriting Input Review

Google Handwriting Input Review

Apr 20, 2015

I’ve said it before, and said it often: cottoning to a virtual keyboard was the only way I was able to leave the relative security of physical QWERTY devices and try out Android.

It has been smooth sailing ever since. Mostly. Still, I have a soft spot for keyboards, even if I feel fairly vested in my current option. And even as the third-party options delightfully expand, I love how they push Google’s own options.

And then we get Google Handwriting Input.

The concept is basic: one uses a finger to write, and the app converts it to digital text. When activated, it acts like most other keyboards, and pops up from the bottom. Instead of keys, the entry tool is made up mostly of a writing area, and other buttons that control sundry items, as well as a space bar at the bottom. After activating, “writing” is a cinch; tracing with one’s finger allows the app to interpret the entry and to place it in the appropriate entry box. Right above the trace area, word suggestions are provided, and can be selected if the initial guess is wrong. The program recognizes simple punctuation too.


Non-cursive writing works best based on my testing. The blockier the entry, the more accurate the program seems to be. It does multiple languages too, which is an added bonus, and there is a conventional keyboard that can be invoked from within the app.

My biggest fuss has to do with spacing. It’s a cramped going in portrait, and only slightly better in landscape… even in phablet-sized devices. Obviously, there is gonna be a trade-off been accuracy and sizing of the input area, but I did come away with the feeling that it works best on tablets.

Weirdly enough, even though the capture process does its thing, I’m faster using a swipe keyboard. This is due to the slight delay that occurs while the app recognizes an entered word; these add up.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t find this option intriguing. Despite the growing pains, it feels like a relatively well-thought out concept, and it works well in real life.